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Does your dog really have separation anxiety?

As a dog trainer, seperation anxiety is a behavior a lot of pet owners struggle with and it is also one of the hardest behvaiors to modify. But what people think of seperation anxiety is actually probably isolation anxiety.

Seperation anxiety is when dog experiences distress from being seperated from a specific person and those feelings of distress will not be soothed if just anyone comes and placates the dog. For example, let's say that I have a dog and I decide that I am going to leave the house, but that dog starts whining, barking and exhibiting other signs of stress. If my husband comes and check in on the dog and the dog does not calm down, then that would be a case of true seperation anxiety.

On the other hand, isolation anxiety is what most dogs actually experience. It is when a dog experiences distress, but anyone can come and see the dog and the feelings of distress will be reduced or dissapear.

Seperation anxiety is significantly harder to manage and modify because a huge part of the modification process of seperation anxiety is elimanting absences to help build trust between the dog and the owner. But "wait! I have to work! I can't stay home all the time", I hear you cry. Yeah and that is what makes seperation anxiety so difficult to manage.

Life requires us to work. Life requires us to leave the house in order to make money, buy food, and honestly not go back to the covid lifestyle. Although you may not be able to eliminate absences, there are likely changes you can make to your lifestyle to accomodate for your dog's needs.

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